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The Growth And Success Of Post-Jewish Zionism

By Matthew Yglesias on May 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

"The Growth And Success Of Post-Jewish Zionism"

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Tanya Somanader has a post about a curious op-ed from Joe Walsh (R-IL) in which he castigates “most American Jews” for our insufficiently hawkish views on Israel. And over the weekend Dan Webster (R-FL) offered a plausible rebuttal to my contention that the US-Israel relationship has no concrete benefits for the United States by telling a televangelist that if “we stop helping Israel, we lose God’s hand and we’re in big time trouble.”

See for yourself:

The existence of Christian Zionists is, of course, not new. But what is new is that Israeli politics has drifted toward the hawkish right over the past ten years even as Jewish Americans remain on the progressive left. That change in Israeli politics, meanwhile, has been in part driven by a demographic shift away from the kind of secular ashkenazi Jews who predominate in the American population. At the same time, Christian Zionist sentiment has boomed in America and the Palestinian cause has never been less popular among America’s overwhelmingly non-Jewish population.

This is all part of what I’ve called the trend toward post-Jewish Zionism. That’s not to say that there are no Jewish Zionists in the United States (or Canada, etc.) but merely to observe that Jews as such are decreasingly relevant to the politics of Israel. In Europe, too, we’re seeing a boom of far-right parties (True Finns, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the Danish People’s Party) with strong pro-Israel stands. And why shouldn’t there be? An Israeli government whose policies are based on putting zero moral weight on the welfare of Arabs is a natural partner for xenophobic anti-Muslim parties who appeal more to Europe’s local sociocultural majorities than to its small Jewish communities.

Update

Daniel Levy’s article on Israeli demographics is also relevant to this. If you’re a typical Jewish American, this is quite literally not your father’s Israel. The Palestinian, Haredi, “national Orthodox,” and Russian immigrant shares of the population have all grown substantially.

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